It looks like hardwood. It can feel like hardwood when you walk across it. But it’s not hardwood. It’s a laminate floor and it looks great. Laminate flooring tends to be more durable and easier to maintain than wood and less expensive. These three factors have helped to make it a popular choice amongst homeowners.
Although it resembles the real thing, this type of floor covering is made up of three basic layers. The middle layer is actually a high quality photo of a hardwood floor, the bottom layer is composed of fiberboard and the top layer is a type of plastic, which serves to seal and protect the photograph. It’s really amazingly authentic.
But as soon as you start to research laminate flooring, you’re bound to get confused. There are a lot of choices as far as quality, finish, texture, thickness and durabilty. Here are five essential tips that you can use in picking laminate flooring for you home.
How Much Can You Afford?
One of the reasons that people turn to this type of flooring is price. When picking laminate flooring you first have to determine how much you can spend per square-foot. By the way, be sure to take installation costs into consideration. These can drive the price up, which is why many people go with the do-it-yourself method.
Prices range considerably, with quality laminate flooring stating at $1.50 per square foot and going up to $8.00 per square foot. These prices do not include installation. As an example regarding price, a 12’ x 12’ room, which would be 144 square feet, would cost at $2.00 per square foot $288 and at $2.75 per square foot it would run $396. Adding just $0.75 per square foot drives the price up over $100.
If you are going to install the floor yourself, you also need to figure in any additional expenses for tools and accessories related to the flooring such as spacers, padding, special treatments for basements, etc.
What Grade of Laminate Do You Need ?
One thing that often perplexes people who are picking laminate flooring is what grade to buy. There are five grades, starting with low-end flooring at A1 and the high-end varieties that are rated A5. These grades are actually durability ratings and are determined by thickness, which ranges from 6 mm to 12 mm, how tough the topcoat is and the floor’s texture.
For home purposes, it’s suggested that homeowners go with lower rated to middle rated laminates. An A1 floor may be fine for a low traffic area, while A2 and A3 are preferred for a floor that will see a lot of folks walking across it.
Consider Various Brands
When you start shopping around don’t get stuck on one brand. There are many different brands and each looks different and often has different features. Also, some brands are easier and less expensive to install than others. Some have more durable finishes, more color and texture variations and longer warranties.
When picking laminate flooring tour the websites of different brands. There you’ll be able to read up on how their product is made, research the installation process and review the various styles, colors and textures they offer. If there’s customer feedback, be sure to read it.
Also take some time to research any independent blogs and forums related to laminate flooring or home improvement. See what people are talking about and if they have any suggestions regarding flooring. It’s also a good idea to search for any news stories related to the industry.
What Design Works Best?
When you’re picking laminate flooring, you’ll find that there are many different choices in color, texture and tone. This part of the process can often be very confusing for consumers. The first thing to remember is that you should take your time before making your decision. Here are some things to consider.
- Start by simply narrowing your choices down by going with styles you find attractive. You do, after all, have to live with this floor.
- If you’re concerned about resale value go with a traditional look. Stay away from trendy styles that may simply turn off buyers.
- If installing in a dark room, go lighter to brighten up the atmosphere.
- Darker tones with a sheen look rich but they show dirt easily.
- Lighter tones hide dirt a bit better.
- Textured floors with a grain look better and also hide dust and dirt the best.
- Before picking any design make sure you review a variety of options from various manufacturers so that you are making an informed decision.
You don’t want to find a product you like a lot better after you’ve bought and even installed your laminate floor. Be as thorough as you can be when conducting your research.
Check Out the Warranty
Every laminate flooring product comes with a warranty. These vary a lot. If you’re planning on selling your home soon, you may want to go with one that’s five to 10 years. But if you’re considering staying in your house, then select a floor with at least a 15-year warranty. Some floors are guaranteed for up to 30 to 35 years and are worth considering.
Here are a few things to note concerning warranties. Usually, the longer the warranty the more expensive the product will be. Also, if your floor is not installed according to manufacturer guidelines, then the warranty will usually be void. Finally, be sure to keep all paperwork associated with your purchase and installation.
Final Tip in Picking Laminate Flooring
Here’s a final tip—shop for laminate flooring in person. You can start on the Internet but eventually you will have to venture out into the real world. When you do try to go to at least two major suppliers of flooring and preferably three. This will give you a good idea regarding laminate flooring costs and installation prices, the actual look and feel of the floor and the integrity of the construction. In the end after picking your laminate flooring, you want it to look great, wear well and serve your purposes.